Toxoplasma gondii infection and self-directed violence in mothers
Pedersen, M. G., Mortensen, P. B., Norgaard-Pedersen, B., Postolache, T. T.
Archives of General Psychiatry 2012; 69: 1123-1130
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Context: Two studies based on clinical samples have found an association between Toxoplasma gondii infection and history of suicide attempt. To our knowledge, these findings have never been replicated in a prospective cohort study. Objective: To examine whether T gondii-infected mothers have an increased risk of self-directed violence, violent suicide attempts, and suicide and whether the risk depends on the level of T gondii IgG antibodies. Design: Register-based prospective cohort study. Women were followed up from the date of delivery, 1992 to 1995 until 2006. Setting: Denmark. Participants: A cohort of 45 788 women born in Denmark whose level of Toxoplasma-specific IgG antibodies was measured in connection with child birth between 1992 and 1995. Main Outcome Measures: Incidence rates of self-directed violence, violent suicide attempts, and suicide in relation to T gondii seropositivity and serointensity. Results: T gondii-infected mothers had a relative risk of self-directed violence of 1.53 (95% CI, 1.27-1.85) compared with noninfected mothers, and the risk seemed to increase with increasing IgG antibody level. For violent suicide attempts, the relative risk was 1.81 (95% CI, 1.13-2.84) and for suicide, 2.05 (95% CI, 0.78-5.20). A similar association was found for repetition of self-directed violence, with a relative risk of 1.54 (95% CI, 0.98-2.39). Conclusion: Women with a T gondii infection have an increased risk of self-directed violence. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2012;69(11):1123-1130. Published online July 2, 2012. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2012.668